A video game called Chinese Parents lets the players raise kids from cradle to college, but the best part is that you can start over again. So if your digital kid doesn’t turn out to be good in studies, is disobedient, or if you don’t approve of the company they keep, you can end the game and start over again. The New York Times reports that this game has found a huge audience. Many players have said that by letting them experience childhood from their parents’ perspective, it had moved them to tears.

SOME TAKEAWAYS

  • Chinese Parents lets the players raise kids from cradle to college.
  • It culminates with the virtual kid taking the gaokao, the highly competitive college entrance exam.
  • This says so much about Asian parents’ obsession with success and failure.
  • We still see our children as our measure of success.

It reveals that the players can choose between pushing their digital offspring to attain conventional success and allowing them some semblance of childhood innocence.

It all culminates with the virtual kid taking the gaokao, the highly competitive college entrance exam that decides the fortunes of so many young Chinese people. You can either look at this game as a mere exercise to train yourself in the art and craft of raising a baby into an adult or you could look at it as a pleasurable experience where you get to control a digital kid’s life and every decision they may make. Something tells me that this game will be a hit in our country too.

The way this game culminates actually says so much about Asian parents’ obsession with raising successful kids. Like in India, parents in our neighbouring nation are also obsessed with controlling parenting. The focus is on high performance and excellent results, because that is the only way to ensure a secure future. So winning in this game depends on how well the child that you raised digitally performs in gaokao. In other words, the success and failure of a person boils down to the marks secured in a certain examination. Too many Indian kids will resonate with this.

Indian parents are obsessed with good marks. They consider themselves to be good parents, only when their child is successful.

In a virtual domain ruled by violent video games, Chinese Parents may seem harmless, and even constructive. It will help youngsters understand the nitty-gritty of parenting to an extent. A humbling experience if you ask me. It will even help them understand why so many parents behave the way they do. But sadly this game does nothing more than to reaffirm the traditional style of Asian parenting, the one which advocates absolute control of a child’s life, disciplining and gives ultimate importance to achievements and high marks.

No matter how much technique you put into parenting, the fact is our perception of a child’s success needs to change. We are all aware of psychological pressure which comes with too much studying, or the importance of fitness. But we still see our children as our measure of success. We pin our expectations, hopes and dreams on them. So whether they choose to perform well in school, play sports or pursue the arts, they must succeed in it. Failure is still not an option. At least, in the digital world, there is an option to start over. But in real life can never undo the damage of extreme expectations and trying to control your child’s life. They will carry the scars for a lifetime, and we must remember that.

Picture Credit: Todayonline.com

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are the author’s own.

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